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TAC calls for ‘flawed’ medicines bill to be scrapped

Resource type: News

Cape Argus (South Africa) |

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) was expected to make a submission today before Parliament objecting to the proposed Medicines and Related Substances Amendment Bill, which would in essence grant the health minister full authority over the registration of medicines. The TAC was to ask the committee for the bill to be scrapped and to call for a complete rewrite. The organisation criticised the process of public participation during the drafting of the bill, saying their previous submissions had been ignored.

“We remain steadfast in the view that the bill should be withdrawn … (it) is the embodiment of a fundamentally flawed consultation process, where consultation appears to have been treated with significant contempt,” said a letter to the chairman of the Portfolio Committee on Health, James Ngculu.

The TAC was scheduled to make a presentation before the committee this morning. The organisation made a previous written submission to Parliament on May 16, but said it had no impact on the revised version of the draft. It argues that, if the bill was passed, it would have the potential to undermine the scientific governance of medicine because it would do away with the semi-independent Medicines Control Council – the medicinal regulatory authority.

This would “inappropriately, and arguably unconstitutionally” allocate broader powers to Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang over the regulation of medicines, the letter said.It also argued that the bill had not been drawn up according to recommendations by the ministerial task team of the Medicines Regulatory Affairs and Medicines Control Council (MTT) in a recent report.

“In short, we will argue that the bill is so deeply flawed that nothing short of a complete rewrite is necessary,” the letter went on to say.

“Simply put, we will explain why it should be returned to (the Department of Health) so that recommendations of the MTT report, as well as the submissions originally received by the department, can be seriously addressed and given effect. Only then would it be appropriate for draft legislation to be considered and processed by your committee,” the TAC said.

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health care, TAC, Treatment Action Campaign